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There have been many times in my life where an event sharply marked a clear and decisive end - An end to a job, to a relationship, or sadly sometimes even to a loved one. It is on these days where I am most drawn to deep remembrance. I try to remember what I have done and what has been done to me. For me, an end to a time is a time for reflection.

There have been other times where an event marks a clear start to a new chapter. Sometimes they are “firsts” such as getting a first car or a first kiss. Other times they are simply clear beginnings, like moving in to a new home, or welcoming a new baby into the world. It is difficult at these times to think of anything but the future. And it is natural to have your mind swim in plans and dreams and hopes and fantasies.

But it is very rare to have a day where there is such a clear end to the time before and in that same moment a start to the time ahead. One of these rare days is just ahead. And for this day I’m going to give you a piece of advice that absolutely no one else will give you. Don’t look ahead and don’t look behind, instead just look around.

This day won’t happen again. You’ll have plenty of time to reminisce. You’ll have plenty of time to dream. But if you look around, you’ll be shocked at what you see. For just a few hours, four years worth of successes and failures and hormones will be packed into a room barely big enough to hold just the people. If you spend too much time dwelling or dreaming, you might miss all the drama.

And really, that’s the one thing I never learned in school. I was taught how to efficiently analyze the past. I was taught how to effectively plan the future. I was never taught how to enjoy or delight in or experience the present.

This is my hope and prayer for you, that your desires and worries and memories and regrets would not steal from you the joy of living right now.

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